Tech hits new high amid virus
Use of technology hit soared in 2021 in Africa underscoring the continent as a tech hub, the latest report by Google and Accenture indicates.
In the Africa Developer Ecosystem Report 2021 conducted across 16 African countries, there was a 22 per cent surge in internet use among small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Africa despite the economic crisis occasioned by the pandemic.
Google says Kenya, which is estimated to be a tech hub worth at least Sh120 billion, offered a favourable business and technology environment across sectors. The pandemic is reported to have accelerated tech adoption across Africa.
Kenyan startup Ahadi Movers is among those that adopted digital tools, growing by 80 per cent with Google My Business and Google Ads. Its expansion efforts saw it hire more team members and serve between 70 and 100 customers monthly.
Top four tech giants
“In Kenya, the largest increase in the proportion of firms using digital solutions was experienced by manufacturing and small medium-based businesses,” the report says.
Countries that participated in the study included Africa’s top four tech countries giants – Kenya, Egypt, South Africa, and Nigeria. Others were Algeria, Cameroon, Rwanda, Uganda, Ethiopia, Ghana, Morocco, Mozambique, Ivory Coast, Senegal, Tunisia, and Tanzania.
The report, 50 per cent of the population of developers in Africa are concentrated in the top four countries led by South Africa with 121,000.
Nigeria posted the biggest rise in population at 6 per cent, hitting 89,000 in 2021 from 84,000 in 2020. Egypt, Kenya, and Tunisia added at least 2,000 developers each in 2021, reflecting a 2 per cent increment.
The top four countries also consumed 81 per cent of the continent’s venture capital funding.
“Led by Nigeria ($307 million) and Kenya ($305 million), advancing countries secured more funding than ever in 2020, and this success has allowed their startup ecosystems to grow faster than ever and take advantage of digital transformation spurred by the pandemic,” the report says.
The report further states that African startups, which hire over half of the continent’s developer population, raised over Sh400 billion in 2021, with fintech making up for over half of investments.
Africa’s internet economy is projected to hit 5.2 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP), contributing about $180 billion (Sh20.5 trillion) into the continent’s economy by 2025 and $712 billion (Sh80 trillion) by 2050.
Out of the 1600 software developers interviewed during the study, Google found that 38 per cent are hired by at least one company outside Africa, revealing the growing demand for Africa techies.
“The pool of professional developers increased by 3.8 per cent to account for 0.4 per cent of the continent’s non-agricultural workforce,” the report shows.
The total number of developers in Africa now stands at 716 000. Experts predict that the majority of the global engineering teams will continue to work remotely post-pandemic, which bodes well for African developers.